Remedies for Acne

Acne is an inflammatory process that affects pilosebaceous glands and hair follicles: it is one of the most common (how much hated) puberty ailments.

Acne manifests itself in different guises: papules, pustules, comedones, cysts and fistulas are just some of the most frequent acneic lesions. The so-called pimples – which grow particularly on the face, neck, chest and back – can have a multifactorial etiology: this means that the cause of acne can be genetic, hormonal (menstrual cycle, adolescence, pregnancy, polycystic ovary syndrome …), bacterial (Propionibacterium acnes) or psychological (stress, anxieties, tensions, depression). An outbreak of acne can also be favored by other predisposing factors, such as: exposure to the sun, skin reaction to some poor quality cosmetics, use of hormonal contraceptives (eg progestogen pills, birth control patches, etc.) and climatic alterations. In addition to constituting a real pathology, acne is a non-negligible aesthetic problem: in fact, pimples spoil the harmony of facial expressions, also negatively affecting social relationships.

The material published has the purpose of allowing rapid access to advice, suggestions and remedies of a general nature which doctors and textbooks usually dispense for the treatment of Acne; these indications must in no way replace the opinion of the attending physician or other health specialists in the sector who are treating the patient.

What to do

  • Following a healthy and balanced diet seems to be an excellent remedy both for preventing acne and for alleviating its symptoms
  • Reduce your intake of high glycemic index foods
  • Drink at least two liters of water a day
  • If necessary, change the make-up cosmetics: too aggressive foundation or face powder can irritate the skin of the face and favor the appearance of acne
  • Gently remove make-up before going to bed for the night’s rest using a mild cleanser
  • Beware of estrogen-progestin pills: some types of hormonal contraceptives can promote or aggravate acne. In these cases, it is advisable to always talk to your doctor, who will possibly prescribe another contraceptive method
  • If necessary, take medications for moderate to severe acne. Always consult your doctor before starting drug therapy
  • Gently dry the skin of the face and body after each wash
  • Read the package inserts of acne medications carefully, especially those containing retinoids. It is recommended to discuss its use with your doctor in advance
  • Pay close attention to the side effects of retinoid medications. DO NOT ADMINISTER DURING PREGNANCY: these drugs are powerful teratogens (substances that can cause serious malformative damage to the fetus). Furthermore, it is recommended to avoid the application of retinoids even if you are attempting to conceive, since the teratogenic effect of the drug can persist for a long time even after the treatment has been stopped
  • Reduce skin impurities by preferring cosmetics with an anti-inflammatory, astringent, antiseptic (disinfectant) and detoxifying action
  • If necessary, take probiotics to regulate bowel function
  • If the acne is subordinated to liver disorders, it is necessary to detoxify the liver
  • Regulate the menstrual cycle: this remedy is surprisingly effective against acne in women who experience significant menstrual irregularities
  • Exfoliate the skin with specific chemical scrubs or peels. For this purpose, the following are particularly suitable:

What NOT to do

  • Apply irritating or too aggressive creams on sensitive or acne-prone skin
  • Apply oil-based creams or ointments on acne-prone skin: similar behaviors could favor the formation of unsightly pimples or comedones
  • Popping pimples: although extremely tempting, this habit can aggravate the ailment, spreading the infection to nearby sites
  • Continuously rub or scratch the area affected by acne
  • Use facial products that contain substances such as lanolin, isopropyl myristate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and laureth-4. These cosmetic ingredients they can irritate the skin, predisposing the skin to acne
  • Exceed with make-up: women predisposed to acne should pay particular attention and care to face make-up, trying to use as little product as possible. Sometimes it is recommended to adopt a “soap and water” look, an excellent remedy for acne
  • Continuously touching and rubbing the skin of the face (especially if the hands are dirty): this behavior exponentially increases the risk of acne
  • Exposure to the sun during an anti-acne drug therapy: some specific drugs for topical application to fight acne (in particular, retinoids) can cause adverse skin reactions after sun exposure
  • Apply medications containing retinoids to the eyes, mucous membranes, lips, nostrils or other sensitive areas
  • Mixing multiple acne products: Some people believe that using multiple products together can enhance the overall therapeutic effect. In fact, this attitude is completely wrong
  • Apply oily creams on the face in the presence of acne
  • Prefer plant foods such as fruit and vegetables, as they are rich in antioxidants (vitamin C and E)
  • Take an adequate (and modest) amount of refined carbohydrates: do not exceed with the doses
  • Following a balanced diet in terms of vitamins, mineral salts, complex carbohydrates, fibres, proteins and fats is an important remedy for preventing acne or for alleviating its symptoms
  • If necessary, integrate the diet with a supplementation of antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, C, E and pantothenic acid), fiber and zinc
  • When acne depends on a food allergy, the only conceivable remedy is to remove that particular food from the diet
  • Taking live lactic ferments is sometimes a good remedy to fight acne from inside: in fact, the administration of probiotics can balance the intestinal bacterial flora (we briefly recall that the intestinal repercussions can lead to the skin, predisposing acne)

What NOT to eat

  • Avoid the consumption of foods that are difficult to digest, such as gravies, fried foods and foods rich in fat: many people, in fact, after taking these foods see pimples appear, especially on the skin of the face and back
  • Foods with a high glycemic index (probably the worst enemies of acne vulgaris): moderating the intake of these foods can, in some way, prevent the formation of pimples
  • Sugary drinks, very sweet yogurts, super sugary fruit juices and white bread: an abuse of these foods can promote acne
  • Salt and salty foods (limit consumption)

For further information: read diet and acne

  • Nature has always been a friend and, among the countless remedies it offers, some plants are a real cure-all for fighting acne. Clearly, before making use of the help of herbal medicine, it is good to dig into the root of the disorder.
    Here are the most effective natural remedies against acne:

    • Purifying herbal teas:
    • Natural remedies to regulate the menstrual cycle (indicated when acne depends on hormonal alterations): for this purpose, plants such as:
    • Natural remedies to be taken orally (herbal teas/capsules) with a calming-anxiolytic action, indicated when acne depends on excessive anxiety or stress:
    • Topical application of acne creams with a purifying/remineralizing action:
    • Compresses with essential oils with a disinfectant action (dilute the essences in very little water and apply them directly on acne-prone skin with a cotton ball):
    • Topical application of natural antibacterial preparations:
    • Immunostimulating herbal teas:
    • When acne has its roots in liver disorders, the most suitable natural liver detoxifiers are:
    • Plant extracts with antiandrogenic properties:

    For further information: read Acne: natural remedies

Pharmacological treatments

  • Antibiotics (topical application), indicated for the treatment of severe and complicated acne:
  • Antimicrobials:
  • Hormonal treatment for women suffering from hormone-based acne:

For further information: read medicines for the treatment of acne


  • Avoid touching your face with dirty hands as much as possible
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly to reduce the risk of infection
  • Thoroughly cleansing the face twice a day is an effective remedy for preventing acne in predisposed subjects. In such circumstances, it is also advisable to occasionally undergo professional facial cleansing by a beautician
  • Bring disinfectant wipes or specific liquid formulations (e.g. amuchina)
  • Drive away stress: daily anxieties and tensions can aggravate or even predispose to acne. For this reason, a good remedy to fight acne is to regularly engage in sports and/or follow yoga or pilates courses
  • Avoid, as much as possible, that the hair come into contact with the face affected by acne

Medical treatments

  • Homeopathic Acne Remedies: Sulfur Iodatum, Calcium Bromatum, Natrum Muriaticum
  • Treatment with chemical exfoliants, able to fight acne by promoting a keratolytic action (they weaken the intracellular junctions that bind the keratinocytes of the stratum corneum):
  • Laser therapy: extreme remedy to repair the scars left by acne

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